Last month the executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who many people would expect to support the United States government butting out of marijuana matters, was urging the US government to tightly regulate the marijuana market. On Wednesday, two major marijuana industry associations joined in, urging the US government to impose regulations on marijuana businesses.
National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Executive Director Aaron Smith lamented in a statement released Wednesday by NCIA that US laws “prevent federal regulatory agencies from establishing safety guidelines” and called on the US Congress to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and “sensibly regulate [marijuana] in a manner similar to alcohol and other consumables.” The Cannabis Trade Federation (CTF) also released a statement Wednesday calling for the US government to regulate marijuana. The CFT one-ups the NCIA in expressing adoration of such potential regulation, declaring in its statement:
The Cannabis Trade Federation supports strict regulation of the cannabis industry at both the state and federal level. Consumers and communities will benefit when all cannabis products are subject to rigorous production, safety, and testing standards at the federal level. We urge Congress to act now so that the federal government can serve its proper role in regulating cannabis as a consumer product.
What we are seeing here is apparently a preemptive effort at regulatory capture by big marijuana businesses before marijuana is legalized countrywide. In regulatory capture, regulations and enforcement actions that are supposedly undertaken to protect the public from dangers emanating from businesses are instead designed and directed in the interest of protecting certain businesses, whether from competition, from tort actions, or from other potential impediments.
Indeed, NCIA and CTF both in their statements extend an offer to help the US government set up regulations of the marijuana industry. The NCIA statement declares: “We stand ready to work with Congress and federal regulators on the long-term solution to this problem, which is replacing prohibition with sound regulations.” Similarly, the CTF statement declares: “Our industry seeks to be an active partner with the government in addressing this issue [(possible health dangers related to some vaping products)] and any others that may arise in the future.”
Unfortunately, political maneuvering often offers American businesses one of their best returns on investment. This could be true for businesses dealing with marijuana as it has been for many businesses dealing with other products and services. Watch out taxpayers and upstart marijuana business competitors: Big marijuana is on the march, and it is asking the US government to take it by the hand.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.